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Esports Operation Backpack Program for United Way of Vermillion

USD’s Esports club held a video game Olympic tournament to fundraise for the Operation Backpack Program at United Way in downtown Vermillion. The event took place on March 4 with teams of four. The money raised from the event allowed winners of the contest to place their name for donation. Esports club’s marketing officer, Isaac Entinger, gave updates on the event.   

“From the tournament itself, we saw $200 come in that will be donated to United Way’s Backpack Program,” Entinger said. “On top of this, we awarded the top three winners of the event the opportunity to put their name on a donation totaling $500. This brought our overall donation to over $700 for the Backpack Program.” 

Each team had one individual play for titles that included “Mario Kart”, “Madden 23”, “Halo”, and “Super Smash Bros.” The USD Arena Staff was the first placed team. 

“The USD Arena staff were very fortunate to come together with other students on campus to make participants feel like they are making an impact with their talent,” Entinger said. “We were very glad to see a high participation from our own organization as we hope to influence our members to bring good into the world after they leave USD, and even though they were part of our organization, they came together and paid for both entry fees and any donations themselves. 

The idea came from the club officials who planned to do a larger event for the spring.   

“We wanted to tie it into a cause that would directly help the Vermillion Community. We run our Extra-Life 24-hour annually and have brought in over $10,000 to be donated in just a span of three years,” said Entinger.   

The club wanted to use their knowledge and experience to create an additional annual charity.   

“One of our goals with USD Esports is to use our talents and resources to help make a lasting impact on the community with the hope to influence our members and any outsiders to do the same,” Entinger said. “We believe it is important to raise awareness about pressing issues such as poverty. Holding an event like Operation Backpack allows us to harness the power of the Vermillion community to make a direct impact.”  

It is planned to make the tournament for the Backpack program an annual event.   

As of now, we are looking at the possibility of combining this event with our annual charity stream, or finding an overlooked issue happening in Vermillion that we can donate to next year,” said Entinger.